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Samuel Dravis
01-27-2008, 06:16 PM
I've recently been wondering what people mean when they say statements like the following:

"God judges me."
"God loves me."
"God forgives me."
"God told me to do X."
"God hates X."
"God is calling you."
"God is love."
"God is truth."
"God is good."

None of those statements can be literally interpreted as true. As an example, I'll take the first one, "God judges me." What does it mean to judge someone? Well, it means to pass judgment - do something critical of the person to be judged. A judge would declare a punishment on a criminal commensurate with their crimes. Of course, if he never punished anyone - regardless of what they did - we wouldn't say that the judge was doing much judging, would we? No, of course not. Many people do bad things, yet God doesn't seem to have punished anyone. In what sense is God a judge, then? I'm not sure. Perhaps it could refer to the prohibitions in the Bible or other holy texts against some actions, but then there is a difference between having a law and judging someone based on that law. It seems reasonable to wonder why we say that God is a judge when he doesn't act like a judge.

Another example from the above is "God is truth." So, what do we mean by truth in this context? It's hard to figure out. Usually when we say something is true, we mean that it is true relative to some standard, i.e., if I claim that there is a monster under the bed, the way to find out if I'm telling the truth or not is to look under the bed. If I say that a table is in the hall, you can look into the hall and find the table there. If I use this classic:

All men are mortal.
Socrates is a man.
Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

I mean that, if the conclusion follows from the rules of logic, it is called true.

But what does it mean to be true without some type of standard with which to evaluate that truth? I don't know. If we don't differentiate between true and false, how can it be said that something is true? Perhaps someone can enlighten me. From what I can see now, it looks like "truth" cannot be applied in the way it is in this context; it just doesn't make sense to say it.


These along with the other statements seem impossible to evaluate literally. So what exactly do people mean when they say them? Going from the statements, it looks like we're talking about a person, perhaps an Olympian god such as Zeus (we even say God is a "he").

"Zeus judges me." (He acts like a judge)
"Zeus loves me." (He acts in a loving way)
"Zeus forgives me." (He acts in a forgiving way)
"Zeus told me to do X." (He actually said to do something)
"Zeus hates X." (He acts hateful towards X)
"Zeus is calling you." (He asks out loud or animates a statue to tell you he wants you)
"Zeus is love." (? - similar treatment to truth)
"Zeus is truth." (? - see preceding paragraph on truth)
"Zeus is good." (Perhaps Zeus acts like a good person)

But wait-- God isn't Zeus! We don't want to say God is like an Olympian god. He doesn't appear to us like Zeus would. He doesn't have a corporeal presence like Zeus does, etc., etc. OK, that just means we're being figurative. God is like Zeus in some ways. It seems like we're constantly using similes with these statements, then. But if it's possible to describe a fact with a simile it must also be possible to drop the simile and say exactly what we mean, just as I did above in the parentheses. Can we drop the simile here when we use God and still retain anything? I can't see a way to do that - we seem to have comparisons that do not compare to anything (and some that can't even be understood as comparisons).

That is the question then: What do we mean by statements like this when we can't take them literally and can't take them figuratively either?

Perhaps we must mean something other than what the words themselves mean. "God judges me." = "I act as if there were a judge over me." In this case the statement isn't talking about what God is, if anything. It merely means, "This is how I live."

Thoughts?

tk102
01-27-2008, 09:35 PM
But what does it mean to be true without some type of standard with which to evaluate that truth? I don't know. If we don't differentiate between true and false, how can it be said that something is true?Yes, that doesn't work for me either. I approach the question assuming the nature of God must transcend all standards for comparison and not be subject to the dichotomy of truth and falsity. Therefore, I assert God is both true and false simultaneously.

I further suggest God's transcendence allows for synthesis an otherwise intractable paradox. When it comes to a question about the God and you see an "either/or", think "both/and". Everywhere and nowhere. Good and evil. Free will and destiny. Mind and body. Real and imaginary. Unity and multiplicity. Personal and impersonal. Everything and nothing.

That these dichotomies could be unified and still retain their own split nature simultaneously, this is what is provided by transcendence.

"God judges me." = "I act as if there were a judge over me."Yes and further: "God judges me" = "I judge myself" = "I judge God" To me these are all equivalent."This is how I live."This is how God lives.

Tommycat
01-27-2008, 10:02 PM
Well if we say God will judge me, it can mean after death. He may judge you worthy of entering heaven, or deem you unfit to enter. In that sense the judgement is his. Though technically he is more like Congress in that he determines the rules.

Samuel Dravis
01-28-2008, 12:24 AM
Yes, that doesn't work for me either. I approach the question assuming the nature of God must transcend all standards for comparison and not be subject to the dichotomy of truth and falsity. Therefore, I assert God is both true and false simultaneously.

I further suggest God's transcendence allows for synthesis an otherwise intractable paradox. When it comes to a question about the God and you see an "either/or", think "both/and". Everywhere and nowhere. Good and evil. Free will and destiny. Mind and body. Real and imaginary. Unity and multiplicity. Personal and impersonal. Everything and nothing.

That these dichotomies could be unified and still retain their own split nature simultaneously, this is what is provided by transcendence.I'm not sure what you mean. If you say that True=False, then the concept of truth appears to be rendered useless. Would you agree that, since nothing differentiatable is asserted by the statement, the assertion itself is meaningless?

Yes and further: "God judges me" = "I judge myself" = "I judge God" To me these are all equivalent.This is how God lives.Alright, thanks. :)

Well if we say God will judge me, it can mean after death. He may judge you worthy of entering heaven, or deem you unfit to enter. In that sense the judgement is his. Though technically he is more like Congress in that he determines the rules.Ok, let's look at that idea, then. Judgement. Can we judge dead people? No, generally we don't say we judge corpses; we might be able to say, "Get rid of that smelly thing!" but not judge in the sense that a court judges a person. What you mean by "after death" must mean something other than a deciding to dispose of a corpse or not. So, what is it? Usually people say it's the soul, or spirit, that is judged.

Sure - now, what's a soul, and can a soul be judged? Let's see what we mean by soul (spirit is a synonym for soul in this context, so I put those in too):

He has no soul.
His soul has left his body.
He is a soulless murderer.
He has a great soul.
He is a noble spirit.
He has spirit!

Alright, now let's see what we mean when we say these things, what context we use them in:

He has no soul. (he doesn't empathize/care about what happens to others)
His soul has left his body. (He's dead.)
He is a soulless murderer. (He is not sorry for what he's done)
He has a great soul. (big-hearted; generous, kind)
He is a noble spirit. (similar to the above)
He has spirit! (he tries very hard to do something)

But there is a problem. We never use soul to mean a sort of non-material "you" after you're dead (whatever that means). So... we can't mean what we usually mean by soul or spirit in this context of "God judges the soul."

What do we mean, then? Not sure; no one ever says what they mean by soul. They give more similes: "A soul is like a person." Ok; show me the person - but there is no person! So, it's another simile. Can we restate it in terms of the facts? No. It, like the ones in the original post, seems to be without meaning and we're back to just saying some words.

"A soul is a person without their body." But "person" is never used outside of talking about people with bodies. What sense does it make to say a person doesn't have a body? Suppose someone had two baskets and a bucket of absolutely identical marbles. They then proceed to separate the marbles into the two buckets. They said they have a criterion for separating the two; but the marbles are absolutely identical. There is no possible meaningful criterion for their separation. In the same way, there's no possible meaningful criterion to distinguish an incorporeal soul from nothing at all...so why would we say it can be? A=B, but B is somehow different from A? Even though we've defined them as being absolutely identical? I don't know how to make sense of that.

So no, I don't know how God could judge a soul, or send a soul to a place, or do anything else with a soul, since soul is essentially descriptive of an attitude, not a thing. Send an attitude to hell? What's that supposed to mean? Attitudes can't be sent to places, they're just descriptions of the actions of people...

We give words meaning, but they can't have meaning if we don't distinguish them from each other. The soul, if it does not mean what we use it to mean, does not mean anything. A meaningless word can't be judged any more than a dead person can.

Tommycat
01-28-2008, 04:39 AM
You are making a mistake of assigning corporeal traits to something non-corporeal. You are also making the mistake of using figures of speech and all its trappings to label what is and is not a soul. When someone says someone has no soul, it has no more meaning than saying a person has no heart. If a large group of people say that a dolphin is a fish, that does not make it true. You need to consult the experts in that field A soul as defined by religious scholars is the entity of the person, that which makes the person unique beyond physical appearance. All creatures are born with a soul. When their bodies die, their soul lives on.

And judging happens after death in some cases anyway. So your argument fails on that front as well. Since a person can also be judged innocent of charges.

You are taking a very narrowly defined judge and applying it to a very loosely defined soul. If you are going to use a scholarly defined judge to define what a judge is you should use the scholarly defined soul as well, because quite honestly we judge people after their death all the time. If I say Stalin, people make a judgement immediately. If I say Hitler, people make a judgement. If I say Mother Theresa or Ghandi, people make a judgement. So by that standard, we can be judged after death.

Darth InSidious
01-28-2008, 07:51 AM
To pick a single point of the original post and inflate it unfairly, SD (mayst I call thee 'Sam'?), you ask by what standard God is 'love', 'truth', etc.

Generally, is not a defect in ones personality - a lack of love, truth etc. not a flaw, or limitation? If God is extra-material, and is not limited, presumably, then, he cannot not be perfect, love, truth etc. Also, the fourth way. :D

I'll post a proper response later.

Samuel Dravis
01-28-2008, 11:30 AM
You are making a mistake of assigning corporeal traits to something non-corporeal.Well, the problem seems to be that there are no traits assigned to a soul. What is a trait that does not have anything to do with reality? Perhaps you can tell me, since you appear to have knowledge on the subject.

You are also making the mistake of using figures of speech and all its trappings to label what is and is not a soul. When someone says someone has no soul, it has no more meaning than saying a person has no heart.I am simply pointing out what we can't mean when we say soul - what we usually mean - and I'm glad you agree.

If a large group of people say that a dolphin is a fish, that does not make it true.I'm not sure you understand. I'm not saying that the objective isn't real; when people say dolphin they mean "the sort of mammal that lives in the ocean and looks like THIS." They of course don't need to use that specific word; other languages have different words for dolphin, or I could have a nickname for dolphins, etc. The point is that there exists a standard on which to judge whether something is a dolphin or not - reality. There is no such standard for soul, hence the problem.

You need to consult the experts in that field A soul as defined by religious scholars is the entity of the person, that which makes the person unique beyond physical appearance. But this is an instance of the very issue. They're saying something but we can't make sense of it! What makes people unique beyond what they do, what they are, how they live, their appearance, their kindness, their love? I don't know, you don't know, no one knows, but these people keep saying there is such a standard. All I am asking is this: If we can't use the normal meaning of soul, some of which I enumerated in my last post...then what exactly do we mean? Can we differentiate that meaning from anything else? If not, then I suggest the word, used in that way, is without literal sense (it may have another meaning, like "This is how I live", but not this one).

All creatures are born with a soul. When their bodies die, their soul lives on.What would differentiate a creature born without a soul from one born with one? Also, since when has anyone ever lived without their body? Explain exactly what it means to live without a body... and define your terms.

And judging happens after death in some cases anyway. So your argument fails on that front as well. Since a person can also be judged innocent of charges.But that type of judging is quite irrelevant to the person. There is no possibility of punishment or reward; the most we can say about that is that judgment is for the living, not the dead. That type of judging is not the same as the type we're interested in - like that of a judge presiding over the fate of this specific person. That is the way in which God is supposed to judge us, isn't it?

You are taking a very narrowly defined judge and applying it to a very loosely defined soul. If you are going to use a scholarly defined judge to define what a judge is you should use the scholarly defined soul as well, because quite honestly we judge people after their death all the time. If I say Stalin, people make a judgment immediately. If I say Hitler, people make a judgment. If I say Mother Theresa or Ghandi, people make a judgment. So by that standard, we can be judged after death.Indeed, you can use judging to mean this type of action. However, I think you can see the differences between this type of judging and the type we say that God will do. We're not presiding over the fate of someone, we're expressing outrage of someone's actions - something different, although certainly related (A judge could express his outrage in his sentence).

To pick a single point of the original post and inflate it unfairly, SD (mayst I call thee 'Sam'?), you ask by what standard God is 'love', 'truth', etc. Certainly, I don't mind at all. :)

Generally, is not a defect in ones personality - a lack of love, truth etc. not a flaw, or limitation? If God is extra-material, and is not limited, presumably, then, he cannot not be perfect, love, truth etc. Well, that is interesting. So, even if God lacks what we think of as love, it is not a flaw. By virtue of his perfection he must have something called love, though?

OK. Suppose we took it as unnecessary that we define love in order to say that god has it. What do we mean when we say it, then? It's not our type of love, what we understand as love. Even so, people attempt use the word "God is love." in the same sense that I use "I love my mother." - but we can't use it that way. Incorporeal beings (whatever that means, the words seem to contradict each other) can't express love. Did we just steal a word in a failed attempt to describe the indescribable? Certainly if we don't mean we we normally do by love, saying that "God is love" is equivalent to saying that "God is gklfn." Well, if we define him as infinite, maybe so (although there is, of course, no way to check if the idea is contradictory or nonsense since we never defined it in the first place). Regardless, it still doesn't mean anything to say; telling someone that "God is gklfn" doesn't enlighten them in the least.

Also, we are still using the Olympian view of God. God's not Zeus, though. How are we even talking about it when we're saying that God is like Zeus but not really, only the times when we want to talk about his attributes?

Also, the fourth way. :D

I'll post a proper response later.I look forward to it.

tk102
01-28-2008, 12:19 PM
I'm not sure what you mean. If you say that True=False, then the concept of truth appears to be rendered useless. Would you agree that, since nothing differentiatable is asserted by the statement, the assertion itself is meaningless?
No, either/or logic is not meaningless. True/false is practical in regards to describing the differences between the Many Things but impractical when trying ascribe differences within the One Thing / No-Thing.

Samuel Dravis
01-28-2008, 01:07 PM
What can meaningfully be said about the world if it is treated as the same thing? I.e., if we said, "everything is essentially the same as everything else" then we lose the ability to say anything about it. What's the difference between a chair and a man? The word "difference" doesn't mean anything in this context. The question is nonsense.

Now this may seem useful from an ethical point of view: "I am the same as everything else" - but if we attempt to make a normative statement: "I should (act this way)" from "It is (the same as I)" it doesn't follow. We don't treat other people like we treat rocks, for example, even if both are "essentially the same."

Everything is everything? A tautology that needs not be said. Yes, when we define the collection of facts A=∞, any specific fact B will always be present in A... but why would we ever use A in the first place? We couldn't be saying anything meaningful by it since we're not distinguishing between anything. If something is true and false at the same time, that merely indicates that logic cannot be applied to the statement as it is, not that it actually is "true" and "false." See the liar paradox (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liar_Paradox). Kripke's interpretation is most similar to mine.

Similarly, we couldn't be saying anything meaningful when we talk about the "One-thing / No-thing" since we don't distinguish between anything there either. Unless you mean something else by "One-thing / No-thing", I don't know how to understand it as an assertion.

PoiuyWired
01-28-2008, 01:25 PM
"Zeus loves me." (He acts in a loving way)


Or he shags you, preferably in the form of a wild animal. And yes, this applies to most dieties out there. :)

Darth InSidious
01-28-2008, 01:35 PM
Or he shags you, preferably in the form of a wild animal. And yes, this applies to most dieties out there. :)
Mmmm...nope.

As an Egyptologist, I object. The Graeco-Roman deities are somewhat unique in this, as far as I know.

SilentScope001
01-28-2008, 02:09 PM
Eh.

What we mean when we talk about God? We talk about an diety who controls us. Absolute power and all that. If God was weak, he wouldn't have followers. Plain and simple.

The end. God can judge us, but that power of judgment stems from the fact that he got aboslute power. So, God="Absolute power".

Is God good? He's also supposed to be perfect, so, say, God is perfect. But it's not about 'perfect' that I follow God, I follow God because God is, well, better than me. He created me, for crying out loud! Why should I disobey him?

So, um, twist my statement, kay? :)

El Sitherino
01-28-2008, 02:15 PM
Why should I disobey him?
Why should you obey him? What if he has bad things planned for you? Do you not deserve a chance for something better, even if you must make it for yourself?

tk102
01-28-2008, 02:25 PM
What can meaningfully be said about the world if it is treated as the same thing?
You're still clinging to either/or: Either the world is many things or it is one thing. It is both many things and one thing and nothing.

In our day-to-day point of view the of many, we may say whatever you like about the world since we know it as many things. Words imply divisions between things. So it must be One Thing/No-Thing would "speak" only one word which means everything. Combine John 1:1 and Mandukya Upanishad: In the beginning there was the Word and that word is AUM.

So who is the one trying to meaningfully say something?

Darth InSidious
01-28-2008, 02:25 PM
Why should you obey him? What if he has bad things planned for you? Do you not deserve a chance for something better, even if you must make it for yourself?
Depending on your definition of 'God', one could argue that if He is perfect, including being omnibenevolent, then He cannot do something bad to you, since this would contradict His divine will. Of course, this again, relies upon a specific understanding of omnipotence as all-powerfulness that does not contradict its user's will....

El Sitherino
01-28-2008, 03:17 PM
Depending on your definition of 'God', one could argue that if He is perfect, including being omnibenevolent, then He cannot do something bad to you, since this would contradict His divine will. Of course, this again, relies upon a specific understanding of omnipotence as all-powerfulness that does not contradict its user's will....
However, the most generally accepted thing about "God" is that he has a plan.
Some people it seems are destined for only bad things in his plan. So, how does this work?

SilentScope001
01-28-2008, 03:19 PM
Why should you obey him? What if he has bad things planned for you? Do you not deserve a chance for something better, even if you must make it for yourself?

El Sitherino, God made me. If God didn't make me, I would not exist. Ergo, I owe my loyalty to God.

To disobey him would basically be an act of pure egoism, which seems just dumb. I am not that great, I am not that grand, and I don't see the point of rebelling against the very thing that granted you life.

It's not about some 'plan' that I have to follow him, it's due to basic knowledge that you owe featly due to all the favors he granted you. Why are you worried about a string of bad luck, when you still got the gift of oxygen?

Darth InSidious
01-28-2008, 03:23 PM
However, the most generally accepted things about "God" is that he has a plan.
Some people it seems are destined for only bad things in his plan. So, how does this work?
'Plan' implies time. AFAIK, God is meant to exist outside time. The inaccuracise of a 3-D language...I suppose one could both argue that God invites us all to live a 'good' life, and some of us choose to live a rubbish one by our actions, or that it's his right, but the first relies upon supposition and the second, of course, is another debate entirely.

El Sitherino
01-28-2008, 03:37 PM
El Sitherino, God made me. If God didn't make me, I would not exist. Ergo, I owe my loyalty to God.

I still don't quite see why one should be loyal simply because he is their creator.

To disobey him would basically be an act of pure egoism, which seems just dumb. I am not that great, I am not that grand, and I don't see the point of rebelling against the very thing that granted you life.

I'm not great, nor am I grand. I do however know who I am as a person and don't need some sky-daddy to plot my life by. It's not about ego, it's about a personal choice, one which he supposedly granted me. I'm fallable, I'm corruptable (in the sense all thinking entities are), and I'm mortal. I however, am also knowledgable and capable of learning many things throughout life without owing some blind allegiance.

It's not about some 'plan' that I have to follow him, it's due to basic knowledge that you owe featly due to all the favors he granted you. Why are you worried about a string of bad luck, when you still got the gift of oxygen?
I owe only 2 people for things they've granted me. My parents, without them having fornicated at the moment in time that they did, I would not be here. Infact, my replacement would probably be a completely different form of person.

Also, I'm not worried about a string of bad luck. I'm well aware that life is a cycle, it has it's ups and downs. I believe however it is up to me to make my ups and limit my downs.

And not everyone thinks the gift of oxygen is that.

SilentScope001
01-28-2008, 05:36 PM
I still don't quite see why one should be loyal simply because he is their creator.

I see no reason why one should be loyal for any other reason. To do so would be tanamtount to betrayal.

I'm not great, nor am I grand. I do however know who I am as a person and don't need some sky-daddy to plot my life by. It's not about ego, it's about a personal choice, one which he supposedly granted me. I'm fallable, I'm corruptable (in the sense all thinking entities are), and I'm mortal. I however, am also knowledgable and capable of learning many things throughout life without owing some blind allegiance.

And you still think therefore that you are better in that you don't need some other person to guide you. That's exactly what I meant by an ego problem! Thinking you have rationality, that you can think, that you don't need the help of someone else! Thinking that you are more intelligent than the 'sky-daddy'! Now, if the 'sky-daddy' doesn't exist, yes, you can make an logic. But the 'sky-daddy' as, defined in Judeo-Chrisitan mythos, states that he is all-powerful, all-mighty, and all-knowing. Thinking you don't need to listen to his logic is just pure folly.

You think you are smart enough. I don't. I recognize my limitations.

I owe only 2 people for things they've granted me.

The Big Bang? The American Revolution? The Roman Republic? What about those things too? They made you who you are too.

And who made them?

El Sitherino
01-28-2008, 05:46 PM
And you still think therefore that you are better in that you don't need some other person to guide you.

Wrong. Hell, sometimes I ask tk and Niner for advice.

That's exactly what I meant by an ego problem!

K, sorry you don't understand the idea of an ego.

Thinking you have rationality, that you can think, that you don't need the help of someone else! Thinking that you are more intelligent than the 'sky-daddy'! Now, if the 'sky-daddy' doesn't exist, yes, you can make an logic. But the 'sky-daddy' as, defined in Judeo-Chrisitan mythos, states that he is all-powerful, all-mighty, and all-knowing. Thinking you don't need to listen to his logic is just pure folly.

How? If I'm doing pretty much all the same stuff he wants people to do, but without listening to him, how am I incorrect?


You think you are smart enough. I don't. I recognize my limitations.

Way to make assumptions. :thmbup1:

The Big Bang? The American Revolution? The Roman Republic? What about those things too? They made you who you are too.

Uh, kind of, yet not quite. My personality and definitions of myself as a human being and living entity are not determined by these labeled events.

And who made them?
Their parents->their grandparents-->proteins and such that developed into life as it is today.


PS: Loyalty is earned and deserved. Not an automatic right.

Samuel Dravis
01-28-2008, 06:55 PM
Or he shags you, preferably in the form of a wild animal. And yes, this applies to most dieties out there. :)I'll keep that in mind if I see a bull where it shouldn't be. :D

Eh.

What we mean when we talk about God? We talk about an deity who controls us. Absolute power and all that. If God was weak, he wouldn't have followers. Plain and simple.But what constitutes a "deity who controls us"? The "who" makes it sound like a person, but there is no person. The "control" makes it sound like there someone affects things but there is no distinguishable controlling going on. So what does "deity that controls us" mean? It's not what we usually mean, whatever it is.

So, um, twist my statement, kay? :)Hopefully that will be unnecessary. :D




You're still clinging to either/or: Either the world is many things or it is one thing. It is both many things and one thing and nothing.

In our day-to-day point of view the of many, we may say whatever you like about the world since we know it as many things. Words imply divisions between things. So it must be One Thing/No-Thing would "speak" only one word which means everything. Combine John 1:1 and Mandukya Upanishad: In the beginning there was the Word and that word is AUM.

So who is the one trying to meaningfully say something?So you mean a sentence like this: "AUM is everything that is the case"? If so, I'm not sure what you'd use it for. Anything with meaning that you'll ever say will imply its reality, so having a word for it seems redundant. "Everything that exists exists"? Yes, of course, otherwise we wouldn't be able to talk about it.

tk102
01-28-2008, 07:13 PM
having a word for it seems redundant. "Everything that exists exists"...Yes, except for one important thing. AUM is actually 4 elements. A+U+M+___

The 4th element is silence. That which is not spoken. The AUM encompasses those things that do not exist and that which cannot be verbalized.

SilentScope001
01-28-2008, 09:38 PM
El Sitherino

Er. Agree to disagree then. Sorry then. Look like I lose again.

But what constitutes a "deity who controls us"? The "who" makes it sound like a person, but there is no person.

Well, in which case, I make an assumption that the diety is a person, not a human, but a person who can think, talk, and have its own will.

It's an oversimplication that could be seen as heritical in the wrong light, but it works for me, and is probraly how many people see God, as a person. Besides, if the diety is NOT a person, with its own ability to think, then you are claiming God to be the Big Bang.

RobQel-Droma
01-28-2008, 10:56 PM
Do you not deserve a chance for something better, even if you must make it for yourself?

Why? Because of some inherent quality within us that gives us the right to do what we want? I don't think we deserve anything. If you took a piece of playdoh and molded it into a figure of a man, would you expect that object to have some kind of "right"?

How? If I'm doing pretty much all the same stuff he wants people to do, but without listening to him, how am I incorrect?

I'm not sure how that would apply. What, are you just worshiping him by accident? (I'm pretty sure that's something that, at least for Christians, we are supposed to do....)

PS: Loyalty is earned and deserved. Not an automatic right.

But isn't that putting yourself on the level of God? I myself would consider God someone to be followed simply because he is God - heck, if He really is God, where do you think you get the idea of "loyalty" from in the first place? In that case, it wouldn't be something that man thought up.

Tommycat
01-28-2008, 11:06 PM
Well, the problem seems to be that there are no traits assigned to a soul. What is a trait that does not have anything to do with reality? Perhaps you can tell me, since you appear to have knowledge on the subject.
No, it only seems as if the traits are not assigned because the traits are not tangible.

I am simply pointing out what we can't mean when we say soul - what we usually mean - and I'm glad you agree.
But your defining of such is from unqualified sources. It would be like asking the general public to define DNA, but not asking a geneticist. The general public doesn't have enough knowledge on the subject to make the determination.

I'm not sure you understand. I'm not saying that the objective isn't real; when people say dolphin they mean "the sort of mammal that lives in the ocean and looks like THIS." They of course don't need to use that specific word; other languages have different words for dolphin, or I could have a nickname for dolphins, etc. The point is that there exists a standard on which to judge whether something is a dolphin or not - reality. There is no such standard for soul, hence the problem.
In relation to the definition of an etherial object(be it a soul, ghosts, 4th dimentional aliens) you need to consult the sources, and if the source is not readily available to you, the experts in that field. In the case of a soul, you need to speak with a religious expert.

But this is an instance of the very issue. They're saying something but we can't make sense of it! What makes people unique beyond what they do, what they are, how they live, their appearance, their kindness, their love? I don't know, you don't know, no one knows, but these people keep saying there is such a standard. All I am asking is this: If we can't use the normal meaning of soul, some of which I enumerated in my last post...then what exactly do we mean? Can we differentiate that meaning from anything else? If not, then I suggest the word, used in that way, is without literal sense (it may have another meaning, like "This is how I live", but not this one).
No, YOU can't make sense of it because you choose not to believe in the etherial. Yes, it is the person without the squishy crunchy body. And believe it or not they have referred to people without the body as people. I think a good example is "The 6th Sense" when he says, "I see dead people" that is at least one example. Many people believe that they can talk to the dead(Still not sure how I feel about that subject) meaning the dead person who is not attached to the body. What makes us who we are outside of our physical appearance is our soul.

What would differentiate a creature born without a soul from one born with one?
One would be a plant, the other has a unique personality.
Also, since when has anyone ever lived without their body? Explain exactly what it means to live without a body... and define your terms.
Posession: when a soul of another inhabits the body of another. There have been cases of this, however I'm still not sure whether those cases are confirmed as more than mental illness. Still as we are not defining it as something that has to be proven(as it deals with the etherial, it can never be proven/disproven). Then there are the large number of "hauntings" which have people's living spirit not ready to accept that they were supposed to be dead.

But that type of judging is quite irrelevant to the person. There is no possibility of punishment or reward; the most we can say about that is that judgment is for the living, not the dead. That type of judging is not the same as the type we're interested in - like that of a judge presiding over the fate of this specific person. That is the way in which God is supposed to judge us, isn't it?
Not necessarily. Because in order to use the judging you use, you have to use the narrowly defined living soul as referred to by religious scholars. That being the person without the squishy crunchy bits.

Indeed, you can use judging to mean this type of action. However, I think you can see the differences between this type of judging and the type we say that God will do. We're not presiding over the fate of someone, we're expressing outrage of someone's actions - something different, although certainly related (A judge could express his outrage in his sentence).
Meh, You're using generalities about souls, so why can't we use generalities about judging?

Samuel Dravis
01-29-2008, 12:26 AM
No, it only seems as if the traits are not assigned because the traits are not tangible. Give me an example of an intangible trait that souls have, then, that doesn't fall under the problems given in the original post. No, it can't be an analogy. No, it can't be a word stripped of meaning. Yes, I already know that "he's a good soul" means he does good things, but remember that those are similes and consequently don't say anything metaphysical.

But your defining of such is from unqualified sources. It would be like asking the general public to define DNA, but not asking a geneticist. The general public doesn't have enough knowledge on the subject to make the determination. Unqualified sources? Don't YOU know what you use soul to mean when you say it? If you didn't that'd be like you suddenly deciding to mumble gibberish in the middle of a sentence! There need be no asking an "expert" what WE mean when we say soul.

In relation to the definition of an ethereal object(be it a soul, ghosts, 4th dimensional aliens) you need to consult the sources, and if the source is not readily available to you, the experts in that field. In the case of a soul, you need to speak with a religious expert. I am simply asking the people who say this type of thing ("God loves me") to explain what they mean by that. You say you know what a soul is since you have chosen to assert that a soul does exist other than the normal uses of the word. The ONLY QUESTION you have to answer is: what do YOU mean by it. And for that you require no expert. You don't need someone to tell you what you believe.

But even if we were to ask what a soul was of a religious scholar, it would get us no further. An example from the Catholic Encyclopedia here makes it clear that it is defined no better than as what people do:

"The soul may be defined as the ultimate internal principle by which we think, feel, and will, and by which our bodies are animated." (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14153a.htm)

You notice that all of those terms are easily explainable in context of their use, and absolutely none of them means anything without an actual person involved. Of course, if you think the Catholics are questionable in their theological definitions you're welcome to find another source; however, don't be surprised when you discover that none of them mean anything beyond what they are normally used to mean.

No, YOU can't make sense of it because you choose not to believe in the ethereal. Yes, it is the person without the squishy crunchy body. And believe it or not they have referred to people without the body as people. I think a good example is "The 6th Sense" when he says, "I see dead people" that is at least one example. Many people believe that they can talk to the dead(Still not sure how I feel about that subject) meaning the dead person who is not attached to the body. What makes us who we are outside of our physical appearance is our soul. Many people say many things. Some people say that there's an ether in which the universe floats. What are we to make of this ether? It has no attributes, so what could they possibly mean by "float" or "in"? I haven't a clue, and I doubt you do either. I choose to not talk about the ether for the same reason I choose not to talk about your "ethereal." - there is quite literally nothing meaningful to say.

I do know what ethereal means, however. It's used to describe when something is wispy, transient, fragile, delicate, etc. None of those fit with what you're trying to say, so its meaning is somewhat up in the air when it's used in this way... it's sort of like saying that the color blue smells offensive. Uh, ok? How would people respond to that? By pointing out that colors don't smell. In this case I'm just trying to point out that existence isn't used as a property of "something" undifferentiated from nothing. "People" don't exist if "they" are undifferentiated from nothing. Judgment does not take place over "something" undifferentiated from nothing. Etc., etc.

One would be a plant, the other has a unique personality. So we talk about a plant as if is a creature? I have never heard someone do that and I would never do that. A plant creature? Perhaps a reference to that horrible 80's movie in which a plant starts eating people. I suppose a plant could be someone's "baby" - but that just means that they care for it especially well and take an interest in its development.

No, what I asked was: "What would differentiate a creature born without a soul from one born with one?" Indeed, what is the criteria for distinguishing this? The same as how we distinguish between a plant and a human? If that's true then soul simply means, "human." But that's not what is meant, is it? And if it's not the difference between things that defines a soul, then what meaning does it have?

Possession: when a soul of another inhabits the body of another. There have been cases of this, however I'm still not sure whether those cases are confirmed as more than mental illness. Still as we are not defining it as something that has to be proven(as it deals with the ethereal, it can never be proven/disproven). Then there are the large number of "hauntings" which have people's living spirit not ready to accept that they were supposed to be dead. All I see in those is 1) people acting totally crazy, at which point we call them possessed (especially if they start trying to talk about God(?) or eating souls(?) and whatnot); and 2) Happenings that are simply unexplained. Neither require anything beyond what is happening at face value, and what's more, we don't talk about possession outside of these specific, objective circumstances. Curious, isn't it? What reason have we to separate the actions from the word? I submit that there is absolutely no reason to do so.

Not necessarily. Because in order to use the judging you use, you have to use the narrowly defined living soul as referred to by religious scholars. That being the person without the squishy crunchy bits.They haven't defined anything if we can't understand what they mean, and I hope I've made it clear in this thread that they most definitely haven't defined their terms.

Meh, You're using generalities about souls, so why can't we use generalities about judging?In this case, judging is used as if were relating to a specific context of being judged in a court. If you disagree with this assessment, feel free to correct me.

Also, if you have an alternative coherent and specific definition of soul, then I will certainly be glad to talk about that if you prefer. I certainly don't want to be using a strawman.

El Sitherino
01-29-2008, 01:06 AM
Why? Because of some inherent quality within us that gives us the right to do what we want? I don't think we deserve anything. If you took a piece of playdoh and molded it into a figure of a man, would you expect that object to have some kind of "right"?

Uh, you seem to have missed the point.


I'm not sure how that would apply. What, are you just worshiping him by accident? (I'm pretty sure that's something that, at least for Christians, we are supposed to do....)

I'm sorry you're not sure.

But isn't that putting yourself on the level of God? I myself would consider God someone to be followed simply because he is God - heck, if He really is God, where do you think you get the idea of "loyalty" from in the first place? In that case, it wouldn't be something that man thought up.
No, it's not putting myself on the level of God. That's good for you, I'm not, hell I'm not even convinced there is a God. And no, loyalty is a human concept. Faith is the matter of God. It's not about loyalty for him, it's about belief in him. You don't owe him some blood-debt, he just hopes you worship him because he likes it.

Tommycat
01-29-2008, 01:24 AM
First off I have already given you my definition of a soul. It is a person without the squishy crunchy bits(aka body). NOW whether you agree with that or not is irrelevant. You are asking what I mean by a soul, and I have defined it. From my perspective there is more to a person than the physical appearance. Take every thing that is a person aside from the physical body, and that is the soul. The mind, the memories, the personality, the life force, the morals, emotional traits, and basically everything that makes YOU different from ME on the forums.

Again, as far as posession or hauntings are concerned, you cannot rule out fully that those are not souls living beyond the physical body. So they do represent the possibility of a soul living on. YOU just choose not to believe it as such. You even admit to the unexplained. Could it be possible that the haunting is a soul?

As for your question about the plant/creature comment, it was somewhat tongue in cheek. It's like saying what do you call a person born without a body. Since I believe they are both required for a person to be born, asking what it is without it is meaningless. Perhaps we could say it is the stillborn child.

El Sitherino
01-29-2008, 01:36 AM
It's also very probable, and usually, it's someone with schizophrenia or some sort of multiple personality disorder.

Tommycat
01-29-2008, 01:44 AM
Yeah as far as posessions are concerned I concede(I think I was even kinda leaning that way in my post bringing it up) that it is very possible that it is mental illness. However hauntings tend to carry more weight as more people have those types of experiences. And some are still unexplained.

Samuel Dravis
01-29-2008, 02:13 AM
First off I have already given you my definition of a soul. It is a person without the squishy crunchy bits(aka body). NOW whether you agree with that or not is irrelevant. You are asking what I mean by a soul, and I have defined it.You've used words in a way that doesn't mean anything. I suggest you go back to post #4 and either refute or agree with the argument there about the nature of the word "soul." If you deny it, I do expect you to provide a definition for what a soul is, and by that I mean you have to meaningfully show that having a soul is different than not having one.

If you disagree with the method of analysis I used, it would be helpful to me if you said what exactly the problem with it is.

From my perspective there is more to a person than the physical appearance. Take every thing that is a person aside from the physical body, and that is the soul. The mind, the memories, the personality, the life force, the morals, emotional traits, and basically everything that makes YOU different from ME on the forums. I'm sorry but you've just done exactly what I've spent the entire thread showing you that you can't do! :p

How do we know about a person's memory? Because they act like they remember! How do we know what a person's personality is like? Because they act that way! What is a person's emotions? It's how they act! How do we know what it is for someone to live? Because we see them live! When do we say someone is a moral person? When they act morally! What is the mind? There is no object called a mind! The word is used as an expression - I've got something on my mind, He's lost his mind, my mind is made up, etc. Literal interpretation of an expression is sure to fail, as it is doing so famously in this very instance.

Our language is bound up intimately with what we are because it is an expression of our humanity. There can be no abstraction of human concepts; no pasting them onto entities they don't fit. What we mean by love is human love; emotions, human emotions; living, human life...

"If a lion could talk, we would not understand him." - Wittgenstein

Soul is a word we use in relation to certain circumstances in our lives. You're using it outside of the normal circumstances and so it doesn't make sense. Either show it has meaning in this context or stop misusing a perfectly good word.

Again, as far as possession or hauntings are concerned, you cannot rule out fully that those are not souls living beyond the physical body. So they do represent the possibility of a soul living on. YOU just choose not to believe it as such. You even admit to the unexplained. Could it be possible that the haunting is a soul? I invite you to examine my arguments and tell me where I have ever tried to say that there can exist no thing called a soul. Rather, I have - quite simply and reasonably - inquired as to what people mean when they say it. So far it seems like they don't mean what we usually mean when we say soul. The same goes for God; when God is talked about as if he was Zeus, we don't mean he actually is Zeus. Ok - but what is God then? What is the soul? You can see the problem, I'm sure. It's not that a meaning cannot be given to God or the soul, it's that no one wants accept a meaningful definition of those terms.

As for your question about the plant/creature comment, it was somewhat tongue in cheek. It's like saying what do you call a person born without a body. Since I believe they are both required for a person to exist, asking what it is without it is meaningless. Perhaps we could say it is the stillborn child.Alright, I will accept that. A stillborn baby does not have a soul; it doesn't have a soul in the same way that dead people do not have souls. That makes perfect sense if soul is meant as an expression of the things people do. "His soul has departed his body" indeed. A dead person's body was once animated; it is no longer. His "life force" is gone. I do understand these ways of using the word...and then there is your use of it, which I do not understand.

Tommycat
01-29-2008, 02:47 AM
That's the problem we use soul and heart for things they do not mean. We use sayings like he has no soul and he has no heart interchangably. Neither means that person is literally without that item, nor does the saying mean that that is the definition of that item. Does the saying mean that a heart should be only referred to as empathy?

The soul is made up of many things combined. Life force being one. And no, actions do not define the person. The thoughts define the person. Actions define the person to others. Are you saying that a person who is paralized cannot feel emotion? They cannot remember? They cannot have a personality? So is it ok to slap around someone who is paralyzed or in a coma? Again there is more to the person than the physical.

Samuel Dravis
01-29-2008, 03:18 AM
That's the problem we use soul and heart for things they do not mean. We use sayings like he has no soul and he has no heart interchangably. Neither means that person is literally without that item, nor does the saying mean that that is the definition of that item. Does the saying mean that a heart should be only referred to as empathy?Should? It means what we use it to mean. There is no "should." The correct usage of word merely means that people react in a certain way to it. "He has no heart" expresses what we mean perfectly in the correct context. Indeed, you could consider it to be one word, the word that we say when a man isn't displaying empathy: Hehasnoheart (someone learning English might hear someone say that and interpret it as one word).

The soul is made up of many things combined. Life force being one. And no, actions do not define the person. The thoughts define the person.Thought without action is meaningless. "I always loved you in my mind!" But that's not love. "I was a good person in my mind!" But that's not being a good person. "I wanted the best for you!" But suppose the person saying that had methodically destroyed your life?

"I thought about the ramifications of buying a car" means, "I am able to discuss certain things about buying a car easily now." If you asked this person about it, they would have the information present and ready to talk about. Someone who hadn't thought about it would not be able to discuss the question easily. "Thought" is something we say in these contexts to show our ability to do something.

No, (metaphysical)thoughts do not define a person, actions do... and actions include the words they use.

Saying "I thought about it" is an action that points to other objective facts.

Actions define the person to others. Are you saying that a person who is paralyzed cannot feel emotion? They cannot remember? They cannot have a personality? So is it ok to slap around someone who is paralyzed or in a coma? Again there is more to the person than the physical.There are many people whose brains do not function like ours. They do not seem to react to pain like we do; they don't take their hand off of a hot stove until they see their hand actually burning. Do they feel pain or not? No, I suggest they don't feel pain.

There is a man who doesn't remember anything past three minutes. Why? Because when three minutes is over, he goes over to you and asks your name. Again. Just like he did three minutes before. Would you ever say of someone that they can't remember past three minutes when they act exactly as if they do remember? Of course not. The acting is the remembering; the two can't be taken apart and made into some sort of mind/body duality.

To be honest, I don't know if a person who is completely paralyzed can feel emotion. It's not our emotion, anyway. They certainly don't, or can't, express it. What sense does it make to say that they hate someone when they just keep on staring ahead doing absolutely nothing? In what way are they said to love?

A totally paralyzed person would have no personality, just as we talk about some people having less personality than others. The measuring stick? How they act. "He has a great personality!" (He's fun to be with) As you're older than me (I think, anyway :p), you've even had more time to see - and use - these expressions firsthand.

Is it ok to hurt someone if they can't feel it? I don't have much interest in that subject, at least in this thread; I was mainly trying to find the meaning of the statements in the original post. However, I will say this: the expression of a moral judgment is as much a part of language as everything else. Please note that this fact does not make good and evil subjective.

Tommycat
01-29-2008, 04:17 AM
No, because even if a person does not show it physically, they can have emotions. If you have love for someone but don't express it, it only means that you don't express it. Acting is NOT remembering. I remember things all the time without acting on that memory. In fact I remembered an old band mate from years ago that just popped into my head. From what you are saying here is that my memory did not exist until I just now stated it on this board. I'm saying it existed to me, but not to you, as that is merely your perception of my memory, not whether I actually remembered.

Actions do not define the person. The person's thoughts do. Only your perception changes when you see the actions. A man can be racist, but never act on that racism, never say anything about his feelings, that does not mean he isn't racist. It simply means he has not acted on that racism. A man can be intensely in love with someone and never act on that love, that does not mean he has no love. It just means he never acted on that love. I can be an internally violent and disturbing person, but on the outside I can pretend to be all nice and "normal" but really be ready to slit the throat of a random person just to see the red. It wouldn't mean that I'm not psychotic until I actually act on that thought. Only your perception would change to see the psychotic person that lurked inside me.

So what you are saying is that you used a poor method of defining soul because by your last statement, hehasnoheart is one word so hehasnosoul is also another word not defining the soul at all, but only the phrase itself.

Samuel Dravis
01-29-2008, 04:38 AM
No, because even if a person does not show it physically, they can have emotions. If you have love for someone but don't express it, it only means that you don't express it.When have you ever heard someone say, "He is sad" when the person, quite clearly, is not sad? Perhaps they would say this in certain circumstances. "His mother just died and he has gotten drunk" (i.e., he's not acting sad at this moment), but we understand that he is drunk because he is sad. But to say it of someone who never, ever did anything we associate with sadness? It would just be an incorrect use of the word. To say of a child playing on a swingset laughing: "She is a very sad girl." How to handle that? I'd probably reply, "Don't you know what sadness means?"

Acting is NOT remembering. I remember things all the time without acting on that memory. In fact I remembered an old band mate from years ago that just popped into my head. From what you are saying here is that my memory did not exist until I just now stated it on this board. I'm saying it existed to me, but not to you, as that is merely your perception of my memory, not whether I actually remembered.What I am saying is that words describe what we do. "Remembering" as an objective word does not rely on your personal subjective experience. Whatever you might "remember" without acting on it is not remembering in the same sense the the word is used. What is more, there is no such thing as subjectively remembering something; words are objective and only have objective meanings.

Subjective "memory" has no objective ground and therefore you could not assign any truth value to it. However, objective memory (as it is used in language) is about whether the circumstances of reality conform to what you say about those circumstances. I.e., you DO have the bandmate you thought about; you say you remember when you talk about something that has happened. However, there's always a distinction between a false memory and a true one. If this memory was true it would have THESE results. A subjective memory has no such correction measure and therefore it says absolutely nothing significant.

The past isn't what you feel it was; the past is what actually happened at such-and-such time, and memory is the word we use to talk about that concept.

You say you just remembered that band member. Guess what? You've just made an objective statement! Instead of a feeling, there is something concrete involved. Like I said before, even using words is an action.

Actions do not define the person. The person's thoughts do.I have already addressed these exact statements in #34 (http://lucasforums.com/showpost.php?p=2416692&postcount=34).


Only your perception changes when you see the actions. A man can be racist, but never act on that racism, never say anything about his feelings, that does not mean he isn't racist. It simply means he has not acted on that racism.I ask you: in what circumstances do we say someone is racist? Feels racist?

A man can be intensely in love with someone and never act on that love, that does not mean he has no love. It just means he never acted on that love.I ask you: in what circumstances do we say someone is in love? Has love?

I can be an internally violent and disturbing person, but on the outside I can pretend to be all nice and "normal" but really be ready to slit the throat of a random person just to see the red. It wouldn't mean that I'm not psychotic until I actually act on that thought. Only your perception would change to see the psychotic person that lurked inside me.I ask you: in what circumstances do we say someone is psychotic? Violent? Disturbing?

So what you are saying is that you used a poor method of defining soul because by your last statement, hehasnoheart is one word so hehasnosoul is also another word not defining the soul at all, but only the phrase itself.Hehasnoheart is used in a specific situation. Hehasnosoul is also used in a specific situation. The trouble arises when people start using them in ways that haven't been defined. As expressions, they are very similar in meaning, with Hehasnosoul perhaps being a little more critical. Try saying Hehasnosoul about a rock to someone; they'll have to ask you what you mean, just as I ask you here what soul means when you've taken it out of context.

Tommycat
01-29-2008, 05:13 AM
Ok, so those poker players out there always show the exact emotion on their faces, in their actions etc? If I have a Royal Flush, I'm gonna be pretty well tickled pink about it. If I show that emotion, then I give away my advantage. That is just one example of an emotion that is not expressed. It is there, but the other players are not able to see that expression(unless I am a terrible poker player). I SOOOOO want to play poker with you. All I have to do is show I'm sad and you think I am sad.

WE say someone is in love, racist, etc by what they show, but they do not have to show it. They can be in love without acting on it.

For instance I was in love with a woman at one time that was married. I did not show that love. She had no idea I was in love with her. I was best friends with her husband, and could not show that love. So I held it inside and kept it hidden away. There is an exact example that occurs so often it appears in literature from almost every culture. Thought without action. It appears that you have never experienced this in your life. Great for you.

Look I'm not going to sit here and pick everything apart. All I'm going to say is in your example "His soul has left his body" What has left his body? That is the only example from post 4 that "soul" could not be interchanged with "heart"(though technically if his actual heart did leave his body, I think the soul wouldn't be far behind). Or you can turn it around and state that the soul is the non-literal version of the heart(aka not the blood pump).

I would really love to get back on topic, but we are stuck on this whole soul business.

Samuel Dravis
01-29-2008, 05:40 AM
Ok, so those poker players out there always show the exact emotion on their faces, in their actions etc? If I have a Royal Flush, I'm gonna be pretty well tickled pink about it. If I show that emotion, then I give away my advantage. That is just one example of an emotion that is not expressed. It is there, but the other players are not able to see that expression(unless I am a terrible poker player). I SOOOOO want to play poker with you. All I have to do is show I'm sad and you think I am sad.Not at all. Circumstance! In a poker game, I know what is expected of people. They will be intentionally hiding physical reactions. They quite literally aren't expressing emotion, being emotional. I won't say that they felt a certain way or not, since I don't know except by what they say or do afterwards. They could say, "I felt great about that hand!" and I know what they mean in the context of a poker game. If they were playing another game where bluffing did not matter, I would wonder why they were being so serious. Different games, different expectations, different meanings.

I wouldn't say that someone who was on the ground writhing and screaming horribly "could be faking." I would see what was wrong with them and perhaps get an ambulance. Different circumstance. I might ignore such actions from a person in a play, however.

WE say someone is in love, racist, etc by what they show, but they do not have to show it. They can be in love without acting on it.

For instance I was in love with a woman at one time that was married. I did not show that love. She had no idea I was in love with her. I was best friends with her husband, and could not show that love. So I held it inside and kept it hidden away. There is an exact example that occurs so often it appears in literature from almost every culture. Thought without action. It appears that you have never experienced this in your life. Great for you. Ok, you agree that the standards by which we say people are in love are their actions. Good. Further, you assert that these actions are not the only thing that constitutes being in love. OK; I can handle that. Now I ask: "what else constitutes being in love then?" And you say: "well, I feel a certain way." Alright. I ask, "So how do I know if someone is in love, then? What sort of thing will let me on that love is in the air?" And you answer: "There's no way because I refuse to give any criteria to distinguish love from not-love." And I determine that your use of "love" is meaningless. You're not even attempting to communicate anything.

But you might object: "It is not meaningless! I do so know what love is!" to which I have to say, "If you don't have anything to compare love to then how do you know it is real love?" "It is real love because I defined it so." Ok then: "Well--you can't define something meaningfully without a standard." I don't know how to reply to that without acknowledging that I can't define it without a standard. Feelings aren't standards, so either we have to say that there is some objective facts that can show I'm in love - or I haven't been using words properly.

Look I'm not going to sit here and pick everything apart. All I'm going to say is in your example "His soul has left his body" What has left his body? That is the only example from post 4 that "soul" could not be interchanged with "heart"(though technically if his actual heart did leave his body, I think the soul wouldn't be far behind). Or you can turn it around and state that the soul is the non-literal version of the heart(aka not the blood pump).Well, in the normal use of the term, when we say, "His soul has left his body" it simply means that the guy is dead. Nothing leaves like someone can leave a house; it's just a particular arrangement of words we say to refer to this circumstance. That's why I pointed out that "He has no soul" can be smashed into one word and still retain its meaning (of a heartless person). We can do the same to this: Hissoulhaslefthisbody.

The meaning of a sentence is independent of the words used in that sentence. I'm sure you're familiar with aphorisms like "When in Rome do as romans do." It doesn't mean ONLY for Rome, it is more general than that. So: Wheninromedoasromansdo. I was just trying to show that a sentence is an expression of a particular meaning, and it can be thought of as a single "word" (so that literal interpretations of each word are not necessary).

Tommycat
01-29-2008, 08:22 AM
BUT by your definition of emotions, they had no emotions during that game because they did not show them. That is false. They had emotions, but did not express them. Your judgement about the requirement of actions is incorrect. Why does there have to be a specific circumstance for a person to hide their emotions? Some people just don't like people to know too much about them. Actually strangely enough that former band mate of mine did a great job of hiding his emotions. He seemed very happy. Right up until he shot so much heroine into his veins that it could have killed 4 healthy people. But no, he wasn't unhappy at all until he decided to act on it? WRONG, he was unhappy for a long time, but never expressed it.

I have more memories of other things in life that make me happy and sad in my daily life, but those memories need not be spoken about to exist. Memories of things that I wanted to do but never did. I have memories of desires that I never filled. Memories of things that will never happen(ie stories I had come up with). I have thoughts that will never go spoken. I have emotions that will never be displayed. While to an outside observer it may appear that I do not have these thoughts, memories, and desires, they do exist. That memory of my former band mate did not go spoken about until this forum. It was an example of one that I had that no action came from(obviously until this forum). Hence actions do not define the person. The person is who he is despite what his actions show the public. For instance a tough guy may actually be a coward. His actions show him to be tough and brave on the outside, however he is afraid on the inside.

You missed the point. You haven't answered what is leaving the body. Sure you say he is dead, but they could say He'sDeadJim. So what has left the body that makes him dead. In My estimation and by my definition, all that made him who he is, is no longer there. I'm stuck with this body to get rid of in whatever manner we generally do. You used the others to define what a soul is, but this one you left out what soul meant in the phrase.

Totenkopf
01-29-2008, 08:25 AM
Frankly, I think some people really do mean an outside force that they believe is ruling over/overseeing what goes on "down here".

Samuel Dravis
01-29-2008, 09:38 AM
BUT by your definition of emotions, they had no emotions during that game because they did not show them. That is false. They had emotions, but did not express them. Your judgement about the requirement of actions is incorrect.What do I expect emotions to look like in a game of poker?

Why does there have to be a specific circumstance for a person to hide their emotions?Because of this: human beings live in a certain way. They act like human beings do. That means in general they laugh when they're happy and they cry when they're sad. Do this when happy, that when sad. They joke in these situations, they don't joke in others. There is no reason for these actions, it's just what they do. Why do we act like this? Because that is what people do.

That is why there needs to be a specific circumstance in which people express their emotions differently. In the Poker game it is an assumed rule: "Suspend what we normally do in order to play this game." Instead of giving off the normal cues for emotion, the person who can best act nonchalant wins the game. Someone who wants to win badly will put on the most blank face they can, and that is an appropriate and expected expression of emotion in the context of playing a poker game.

Children play a game where they see who can stare at the other blankly the longest (usually exploding into laughter when one fails). Why is this a fun game? Because that action is so unnatural.

Some people just don't like people to know too much about them. Actually strangely enough that former band mate of mine did a great job of hiding his emotions. He seemed very happy. Right up until he shot so much heroine into his veins that it could have killed 4 healthy people. But no, he wasn't unhappy at all until he decided to act on it? WRONG, he was unhappy for a long time, but never expressed it.I am sorry to hear that.

What I can say about it is this: your friend was not playing the game that we play when living. He broke the rules, so to speak, insofar as he did X when everyone expects Y, R when everyone expects T. Is it any wonder we can't make sense of his actions? It is not an option for me to suicide because I do not live in a way that makes it viable; I can't even comprehend a situation in which I would behave like that: acting happy and then killing myself. It's not an option for me to hide my emotions (i.e., act in one way only) because I don't live like I'm playing a poker game all my life. I want people to understand me.

It's like that quote above: "If a lion could speak, we could not understand him." Why not? Because he lives and experiences the world in completely different way than we do. His seeing is not our seeing; his smell, not our smell.

Your friend's world is a world very different from mine, and I don't pretend to understand it. The way he acted means he must not have wanted you to react in certain ways (i.e., suggesting possible drug treatment, your showing concern, etc). Yes, we say, "He must not have been happy" because we see what he has done. If he had not killed himself or done anything else "sad", however, we would not say he was unhappy...

Yes, there's an assumption here: that other people share our way of living. I can't comprehend what it is to live as an amoeba, or a lion, or an ape, or even someone who acts radically different than those around me. A person that doesn't show emotion ever? A person that never says anything intelligible? A person who is completely insane? I might well suppose that they were robots and not people. No, I don't know what it is to live like those people, just as I don't know what they mean by sadness if they don't ever show it.

Your friend finally showed his sadness, it's true. It is a tragedy that he chose that way to express it. Consider what we say about it: "Those people aren't in their right mind. They have to be helped, cured." That's an expression of worldviews colliding. They're actually insane to us; we don't understand the motivations involved.

Consider: what would be the point of ascribing our type of emotions to someone whom it clearly does not fit? Sadness to a person who is never sad; happiness to a person who never acted happily in his life?

"But emotions are subjective!" No, they cannot be, if we are to mean anything by them. As I said before: what is the standard for judging sadness if it is subjective? If there is no standard, then there is no coherent concept of sadness (try to differentiate "sadness" from "happiness" subjectively). To talk about a subjective emotion then is as ridiculous as to say that "He has no heart" is to be meant literally. It's wrong to say that "he has no heart" is meant that way. It's wrong to say that an emotion has a specific meaning when that meaning is not specified.

A=B? OK - you've told me something about a relationship between A and B. Now tell me what A means! But there is no meaning.

Trying to derive meaning from the subjective is like trying to get out of quicksand by diving headfirst into a massive pit of full of it.

I have more memories of other things in life that make me happy and sad in my daily life, but those memories need not be spoken about to exist. Memories of things that I wanted to do but never did. I have memories of desires that I never filled. Memories of things that will never happen(ie stories I had come up with). I have thoughts that will never go spoken. I have emotions that will never be displayed. While to an outside observer it may appear that I do not have these thoughts, memories, and desires, they do exist. That memory of my former band mate did not go spoken about until this forum. It was an example of one that I had that no action came from(obviously until this forum). Hence actions do not define the person. The person is who he is despite what his actions show the public. For instance a tough guy may actually be a coward. His actions show him to be tough and brave on the outside, however he is afraid on the inside. I don't know what it means to say someone is tough on the outside but afraid on the inside apart from what they've done. They might have said "I get scared every time I walk by the bed in the dark because I think about a monster under it." And we'd understand that. But not if they act brave when they say it. The swing their feet over the side, crawl underneath the bed, etc. "I'm afraid of the underside of the bed"? That doesn't describe the situation in the least.

How about if they tell you that they're not afraid of anything under the bed, yet act as if the devil himself was poking an iron around the bottom? What if they hysterical when they are told to go to bed? "AAaaaaaahh! I'm not afraid of anything under the bed! AHHHHHHHH Don't take me there!!!"

That doesn't make any sense whatever. I somehow doubt you'd EVER use those words to describe those situations. Do you really assume people are liars because they could be acting in a different way than normal? I don't think you do.

Saying that they were "scared inside" or "not scared inside" in those contexts merely serves to make the words meaningless. You can't equivocate scared and not-scared without destroying the meaning of both concepts.

You missed the point. You haven't answered what is leaving the body.Nothing has literally left the body. :)

Sure you say he is dead, but they could say He'sDeadJim.And this would be used in the same context, right? I imagine it would mean the same thing as hissoulhasleftthebody.

So what has left the body that makes him dead. In My estimation and by my definition, all that made him who he is, is no longer there. I'm stuck with this body to get rid of in whatever manner we generally do. You used the others to define what a soul is, but this one you left out what soul meant in the phrase.I agree. Everything that made him a living person is no longer there, and hissoulhaslefthisbody is an expression of that idea. "Soul" in this use is simply a particular sound that we use in conjunction with others in this situation. You can point to a dead person and say "hissoulhaslefthisbody" and point to a living person and say, "heisalive". The meanings of those would be the same as saying someone is dead or alive.

PoiuyWired
01-29-2008, 12:54 PM
On the "God Shag You" comment, well the christian faith also have some holy ghost shagging virgins... and virgin birth from god is quite a common theme in religions and the like.

Why should you obey him? What if he has bad things planned for you? Do you not deserve a chance for something better, even if you must make it for yourself?

Well, think of god as some person playing The Sims. He may be nice and perfect and help you on your problems. He may also decide to place you in some screwed up situation just to see how you react.

Oftentimes people would calling an optimistic view on such adverse situations "faith/Test" or something like that, and questioning such events would be considered "You Just Lost The Game" And yes, dieties throwing people in weird situations just to see how they react is described in many religions.

ET Warrior
01-29-2008, 01:43 PM
The mind, the memories, the personality, the life force, the morals, emotional traits.
But all of these things are directly controlled by the brain, a very physical entity. And there is a lot of evidence that it is directly controlled by the brain, people who suffer head trauma to certain areas have ended up with completely different personalities than they had before the accident.

If the thing that makes us who we are is incorporeal why would brain trauma cause a change in personality?

Tommycat
01-29-2008, 10:15 PM
Sorry SD, the person is who they are whether their actions show it or not. They have feelings even though they may not express them. Many comedians are really very unhappy individuals. The only difference between when they show it and when they do not show it is OUR perception of that person. Many people internalize their negative feelings. Those that express them are less common. Perhaps that is why I have such a hard time explaining this to you. Again Good for you if you always express all your emotions except under specific circumstances. The reality is that what we see of a person is usually only about 10% of who they really are.

@ET: Well that could be interpreted as the brain damage being like a short circuit in the translation from the soul to the world.

Samuel Dravis
01-30-2008, 12:32 AM
Sorry SD, the person is who they are whether their actions show it or not. They have feelings even though they may not express them. Many comedians are really very unhappy individuals. The only difference between when they show it and when they do not show it is OUR perception of that person. Many people internalize their negative feelings. Those that express them are less common. Perhaps that is why I have such a hard time explaining this to you. Again Good for you if you always express all your emotions except under specific circumstances. The reality is that what we see of a person is usually only about 10% of who they really are. If you know those comedians are unhappy then they must have expressed that in some way. It doesn't matter if it was kicking a rock or cussing out a fan. Doesn't matter if it was purposefully avoiding people or not watching their favorite TV show anymore. Unless you have some other way of determining their happiness, all you seem to have done is assert you know something without actually having a method of getting that information. An interesting claim, but since I have already posted twice why such subjective knowledge can't be obtained I won't argue it further.

Tommycat
01-30-2008, 12:59 AM
You've never been sad without showing it? Wow!

A person can be sad for a long time without showing that sadness. Just because you cannot obtain that information doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It means that YOU have no way to tell, but it doesn't mean the person is not sad. It may be later that you find out about it. You must not be married....

RobQel-Droma
01-30-2008, 01:52 AM
Uh, you seem to have missed the point.

How exactly did I do this?

I'm sorry you're not sure.

I'm sorry you didn't reply to my question.

No, it's not putting myself on the level of God. That's good for you, I'm not, hell I'm not even convinced there is a God. And no, loyalty is a human concept. Faith is the matter of God. It's not about loyalty for him, it's about belief in him. You don't owe him some blood-debt, he just hopes you worship him because he likes it.

Well, if there isn't a God, then this is all a moot point. But if there is a God, and He created you, that would mean as well that He gave you the ability to understand and come up with a concept such as loyalty, right? If there is a God, in other words, humans couldn't come up with something that God didn't already know and give us the means to understand. So....

.... how exactly are we not indebted to at least give glory to God for creating us? I'm not trying to be pushy, I'm just wondering. I would think that even on a philosophical sense, a being who could create and shape us into who we are deserves respect from his creations.

Samuel Dravis
01-30-2008, 10:34 AM
You've never been sad without showing it? Wow!

A person can be sad for a long time without showing that sadness. Just because you cannot obtain that information doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It means that YOU have no way to tell, but it doesn't mean the person is not sad. It may be later that you find out about it. You must not be married....I don't deny there is a subjective. I do deny that there's any point in talking about it. In order to communicate, words must mean the same thing to the person you're talking to as yourself. The subjective excludes that possibility by its very nature. Ergo, words cannot be based on or refer to the subjective... I can't even intelligibly say, "There are things that we can't talk about" because I haven't defined things in this context...and will never be able to. You can't say someone is subjectively sad because that use of "sad" is undefined. See what I mean?

Totenkopf
01-30-2008, 10:43 AM
You know, Sam, it might just be that some people are better able to comport themselves around others and hide their sadness or sorrow from view. But frankly, sad is sad. The subjective part is more likely to come into play over the source of that sadness. You just might not be able to explain cogently why something is bothering you, not so much that it IS bothering you.

ET Warrior
01-30-2008, 10:54 AM
@ET: Well that could be interpreted as the brain damage being like a short circuit in the translation from the soul to the world.
So, despite all evidence to the contrary, the soul is what makes us who we are, despite the fact that the brain appears to have 100% control over our thoughts and actions?

If people who suffer from depression take anti-depression medication they aren't really happy, they've just short-circuited the sad feelings to make us think that they're happy?

SilentScope001
01-30-2008, 04:44 PM
Well, in which case, I make an assumption that the diety is a person, not a human, but a person who can think, talk, and have its own will.

It's an oversimplication that could be seen as heritical in the wrong light, but it works for me, and is probraly how many people see God, as a person. Besides, if the diety is NOT a person, with its own ability to think, then you are claiming God to be the Big Bang.

...Bump, Samuel Dravis?

Samuel Dravis
01-30-2008, 07:00 PM
You know, Sam, it might just be that some people are better able to comport themselves around others and hide their sadness or sorrow from view. But frankly, sad is sad. The subjective part is more likely to come into play over the source of that sadness. You just might not be able to explain cogently why something is bothering you, not so much that it IS bothering you.I agree with most of that, although I'm not sure how you mean the subjective plays a part in the "source" of sadness. It doesn't seem to make much sense to say "He's sad because he feels sad." Well, ok, but whatever it is you mean, we still have to be talking about something objective...

I do agree with you that reasons don't work with the subjective, though. I can't give reasons to explain to someone why I enjoy drawing or watching the sunset. I just do certain things and I use words to describe those actions.

...Bump, Samuel Dravis?Alright, SS! :D

Well, in which case, I make an assumption that the diety is a person, not a human, but a person who can think, talk, and have its own will. I had interpreted this reply as in the same vein as the last sentence of my original post: "I act like this." As long as you're aware of what you're doing, I have nothing more to say about it. I'm not interested in telling you how to act except in certain specific circumstances, like when you're expected to follow laws.

Besides, if the deity is NOT a person, with its own ability to think, then you are claiming God to be the Big Bang.
Well, if the deity is not a person, then what is it? I'm not sure. I can't even say of it that it has the ability to think, because I don't know what thinking consists of in something not-living. Note that I'm not denying it COULD think; all I mean here is that we don't know what thinking means when it's used like this.

I suppose if you used God in the context of "He created everything" you could mean "The big bang created everything." Whether anyone actually agrees to that interpretation of the sentence is somewhat questionable. :p

Tommycat
01-30-2008, 09:25 PM
I don't deny there is a subjective. I do deny that there's any point in talking about it. In order to communicate, words must mean the same thing to the person you're talking to as yourself. The subjective excludes that possibility by its very nature. Ergo, words cannot be based on or refer to the subjective... I can't even intelligibly say, "There are things that we can't talk about" because I haven't defined things in this context...and will never be able to. You can't say someone is subjectively sad because that use of "sad" is undefined. See what I mean?
Maybe that's the problem I have. I believe the subjective defines the objective. A picture of a person laughing can also be interpreted as a person crying until you know the emotion being expressed. A person who kills themselves in a high speed crash can be either suicidal, or so happy that he feels invincible.

Arcesious
01-30-2008, 09:48 PM
IMO:

God cannot have emotion since he must be infallible if he is God.
Therfore, God's love is uncondition love.
Any emotion expressed by God is not emotional, but expressed as emotional in order for humanity to understand God in their extreme perceptive limitations. Basically, God has to express, or illustrate emotions in order for us to understand him and his will, even though he isn't emotional. Anger/wrath is intended to make us 'fear' him and want to obey him in order to avoid consquences of disobeying his will. Fearing God in the Bible actually means to respect God, to have humilty towards him, 'fear' implying the to humility to do His will. Love... God is Love. God loves us. Jesus loves me... Simple illustrative emotional expressions. It is God's unemotionally based wish for us to follow Him and His will and to be saved under His mercy/grace. God loves us in the sense that he wants us to be saved from sin. He has unconditional love towards all, but is especially graceful to those who follow him.
In the Bible, Jesus displayed anger, love, and sadness in order for us o understand what he wants for us.
If God is sad for us, that is that he feels sorry for us being lost in sin. In the case of Jesus's death and resurrection, Jesus in his human side displayed fear/sadness of havign to die ont he cross. Why? both because as being human and God at the same time, he did this so we woudl understand what a great legnth He was goign to give us the ability to be saved, as His human side was fearful. His sadness was that he knew that not many of mankind would follow Him in the lognrun, and dyign on the cross to forgive us our sins would only save so many of us, because only a sparse part of humanity would follow Him, and all the others would have been given the ability to be saved for nothing because they denied God.
That is my explanation fo God's expression of emotion to Humanity. This is noy intended as a debating post, but as an IMO that is suggestive of my opinion.

Samuel Dravis
01-30-2008, 11:59 PM
Maybe that's the problem I have. I believe the subjective defines the objective. A picture of a person laughing can also be interpreted as a person crying until you know the emotion being expressed. A person who kills themselves in a high speed crash can be either suicidal, or so happy that he feels invincible.Yes, that could be a problem. :p

It is intuitive to say that words mean the subjective. I have said it before myself. I required much explaining before I agreed with my current position. Here's an example that has helped me see it the other way:

Think of humans as black boxes with holes in two sides. The box can't be opened up, nor can it be broken, seen through, probed inside or anything else that would get us in the box.

________
| |
| |

| |
|________|


Things go in: the sensory input (the objective world). It's what they see, hear, smell, taste, and feel.


_________
| |
| |
Senses -->
| |
|_________|


Things come out: that person's actions.


_________
| |
| |
Senses --> Actions-->
| |
|_________|


We define the subjective as whatever it is that goes on inside the box.


__________
|Subjective|
| |
Senses --> Actions-->
| |
|__________|


But we don't know what goes on in the box. All we know are the input and the output. To make attempt to make a distinction between subjective emotions is like saying, "There is a person inside there crying." And then a moment later you say, "The person in there is so angry!" But between those two situations, what has changed?

Nothing.

That's the problem with attempting to make a distinction between something that has no distinguishable characteristics. What was said about the person in the subjective-box is not wrong, per se - that would imply there was a truth-standard, which does not exist. Instead, they just lack sense. They don't mean anything. You could say whatever you wanted about the inside of the box and it wouldn't matter a bit; you still wouldn't know what was going on inside.

The only way you could say anything meaningful is to point out: "Look, this goes in and this action comes out. I'm going to call that 'feeling sad.'" And that is exactly what we do. The problem comes up when we say "feeling sad" in a situation different than we normally do. Another person might be familiar with our use of the word "sad" in this first way, but then what happens if we suddenly decide that another input/action combo is also "feeling sad"? I sure hope no one was depending on us being consistent with our definitions!

Another way of looking at it: What makes a person colorblind? Their perception of color... but isn't that subjective? I don't know what their green looks like. How could I possibly know they're colorblind, then? How could they know they're colorblind?



Also, I found an interesting quote earlier that may help see the kind of overall perspective I am presenting in this thread.

"Philosophers often behave like little children who scribble some marks on a piece of paper at random and then ask the grown-up, "What's that?" - It happened like this: the grown-up had drawn pictures for the child several times and said, "this is a man", "this is a house", etc. And then the child makes some marks too and asks: what's this then?And we ask, "What is a soul?"

Tommycat
01-31-2008, 12:24 AM
The problem with your explanation is that the only definition you are using is the perceived human rather than the actual human. That which is in the box represents the person's real make up. I look at it as the sleeper race car(maybe that's where our differences come from, I look at actual and you are looking at theoretical). On the outside it may appear to be a stock car. It may actually sound like a stock car. To the world at that point it pretty much is a stock car. Then you see it run down the track and beat a car that the stock version shouldn't and you realize that it is not a stock car. Nothing changed about the car except your perception of that car. The car is the same car with the same capabilities, just your perception changed. The car itself was always capable of that.

Samuel Dravis
01-31-2008, 12:54 AM
The problem with your explanation is that the only definition you are using is the perceived human rather than the actual human. That which is in the box represents the person's real make up. I look at it as the sleeper race car(maybe that's where our differences come from, I look at actual and you are looking at theoretical). On the outside it may appear to be a stock car. It may actually sound like a stock car. To the world at that point it pretty much is a stock car. Then you see it run down the track and beat a car that the stock version shouldn't and you realize that it is not a stock car. Nothing changed about the car except your perception of that car. The car is the same car with the same capabilities, just your perception changed. The car itself was always capable of that.Certainly, I agree with you. Let me explain: suppose both a normal stock car and the souped-up version both went into a junkyard and never displayed their differences? Regardless of capability, they both do the exact same thing - sit and rot. What would we say then? If we put all sleeper cars into the junkyard, why would we ever talk about them being better than a stock car?

My point was: if something looks like a duck, talks like a duck, and acts like a duck, then it IS a duck by any objective sense of the term. If the sleeper never exceeded a stock car's capability we would call it a stock car, or at least we wouldn't consider it any better than one.

I consider the racing in your example to be the action of my example.


By the way, I am glad you have used your time to discuss this with me, regardless of whether you were convinced or not. I appreciate it. :)

Tommycat
01-31-2008, 01:16 AM
Certainly, I agree with you. Let me explain: suppose both a normal stock car and the souped-up version both went into a junkyard and never displayed their differences? Regardless of capability, they both do the exact same thing - sit and rot. What would we say then? If we put all sleeper cars into the junkyard, why would we ever talk about them being better than a stock car?
It still wouldn't change the car. The car is still a fast car. IE potential energy as opposed to kenetic energy.

My point was: if something looks like a duck, talks like a duck, and acts like a duck, then it IS a duck by any objective sense of the term. If the sleeper never exceeded a stock car's capability we would call it a stock car, or at least we wouldn't consider it any better than one.

I consider the racing in your example to be the action of my example.
The racing doesn't change the car. In essence it changes everyone who sees it perform. It changes their perception. The car is still the same. You just have confirmation of what the car is truly capable of. I guess it goes back to the old saying "You can't judge a book by its cover."

By the way, I am glad you have used your time to discuss this with me, regardless of whether you were convinced or not. I appreciate it. :)
No problem at all. I gotta do something unconstructive when avoiding work:D.

Samuel Dravis
01-31-2008, 02:57 PM
It still wouldn't change the car. The car is still a fast car. IE potential energy as opposed to kinetic energy.But how is potential energy defined? The amount of work similar things have been seen to do (the action other sleeper cars). We may say, "This car goes faster than those cars!" But the distinction made here is between the actions of both types of car, not between what is under the hood. "It's a fast car!" --Compared to what? There is great energy (electricity) contained in powerlines, but we only know about it due to a differential in energy levels (energy flows from a higher energy level to a lower one). If everything held the same electrical charge we would not have our current concept of electricity, because there would be no electrical flow. A car is certain things (fast, powerful, etc) as compared to other cars, not as compared to itself. "This car is fast because it is fast." Ok; but that doesn't tell us anything.

The racing doesn't change the car. In essence it changes everyone who sees it perform. It changes their perception. The car is still the same. You just have confirmation of what the car is truly capable of. I guess it goes back to the old saying "You can't judge a book by its cover."You could also say: "You can't judge a book's contents if the cover is closed." And that is the problem here. The car's hood is closed. We say, "It's pretty clear that there must be some difference underneath there if it can beat the other cars." And maybe there is. The things we can't say about it are like these: "It has X type of engine oil, and Y brand's engine, and has X modifications to those." Now some of those questions could be answered by watching the car; you could see how fast the acceleration was and compare it to engines that you know of.

Of course, our knowledge this depends on the driver not purposefully going slowly for who knows what reason, but I don't regard that as anything very significant. When in a race people are supposed to drive as fast as they can (to win). If they don't, and can't provide a reason, then they're simply not understandable; they don't know what it means to race like people do.

Anyway, my point was: we can't say specifically what is in the car, just as we can't say what is inside the box. To try to is like saying, "That spark plug is fast." What does that mean? The car goes fast, so the stuff inside must be fast too, right? Perhaps the other way around: "The stuff inside the car is fast so the car is fast too." But what do we know? That the car is fast in the race. We seem to be confusing terms. We still haven't succeeded in saying anything meaningful about the subjective; it looks like we just defined the subjective retroactively.

The what we call the performance of a car in a race is based on how it acts as a whole, not on a specific part inside.

I don't need to know what goes on inside of a computer processor in order to talk about processors, i.e., "this processor is faster than that one." We talk about emotions exactly like this.

What would you think of a situation in which you heard someone talking about a person in a coma, and then they suddenly say that the coma-person is very angry? I know what I would do: I'd be incredulous.

"But how is that possible? He's in a coma, isn't he?"
"Well, yes, but he's still angry."
"Why do you say that?"
"You know he COULD be feeling angry subjectively, so there."
"But if that's just a possibility, then why did you say he was specifically angry? You're confusing possibility with an actual state." (a set as differentiated from a member of that set; "number" vs 1, or 2, etc.)
"Oh, no reason. I just felt like saying it."
"????"

There are some other sets that are often confused with something they're not as well (if you're interested).

"What is color?"
"What is an object?"
"What is a feeling?"
"What is a number?"

Et cetera. Strictly speaking, "color" is colorless (in the sense that a specific color cannot be assigned to a grammatical construct). Color is: the set of this kind of thing that are distinguishable. Depending on the particular use of color, it could mean a specific color, but that color would have been specified. "Look at this color." and we point to it - as opposed to color in general.

"What is an object?" has been especially abused by Descartes and other more recent philosophers.


To expand on a previous example of why we can't talk about the subjective:
A colorblind person knows they're colorblind. How can they know this? Why should they suspect they weren't seeing color correctly? Could they intelligibly say they were colorblind if they didn't know that other people/animals reacted differently than they did? In this case I submit that even the person in question cannot meaningfully say they're colorblind except in the context of an objective standard.

To be clear, I don't deny that people can hide emotions from others; it's just I deny that emotions can be ascribed where they are never, ever, objectively expressed.

No problem at all. I gotta do something unconstructive when avoiding work:D.
Indeed. :D

SilentScope001
02-01-2008, 06:34 PM
I had interpreted this reply as in the same vein as the last sentence of my original post: "I act like this." As long as you're aware of what you're doing, I have nothing more to say about it. I'm not interested in telling you how to act except in certain specific circumstances, like when you're expected to follow laws.

But the thing is, I'm not 'acting as if God exist'. I firmly believed God exist. And we are able to begin to think how God operates because, according to Judeo-Chrisitan mythos, God has talked to us. He could talk to us directly, via dreams and voices, or talk to us rather indirectly, through the use of the Holy Books. And we are able to talk to God back, via prayers and thoughts.

Hence, that why we can conclude God think, God is real, and that God is living, and that God is a person. And that's where the problem lie. It's not as if we are philosphers who postulate the existence of an Intelligent Designer and is now trying to figure out how to create a SETI program that allows us to talk to this Intelligent Designer. God is supposed to have went down and told us right then and there that he exist and he's wanting to see us beg.

Somehow, I'm pretty worried your argument about "who God is" could easily be twisted to "who man is"...how do you know if your fellow Man is really thinking or if he is just a robot who is merely pretending to think and that you are the only man who got Free Will? This argument could somehow play into the hands of skeptics, if used correctly.

Samuel Dravis
02-03-2008, 11:54 AM
But the thing is, I'm not 'acting as if God exist'. I firmly believed God exist.That's ok; what else is believing firmly supposed to mean?

And we are able to begin to think how God operates because, according to Judeo-Christian mythos, God has talked to us. He could talk to us directly, via dreams and voices, or talk to us rather indirectly, through the use of the Holy Books. And we are able to talk to God back, via prayers and thoughts.Well, perhaps you have not thought much about the original post. "God talks to us." What does God mean here? A person, it looks like; but that is abjectly denied. Notice that even saying god is an "it" means that god is somehow distinguishable from other things; in what way is it distinguishable? Not by being physical.

Perhaps you know what god is by the content of dreams. But dreams are not reality, by definition. Why should you treat a god-dream differently than all the all the rest that are dismissed as interesting but ultimately irrelevant things to say after waking up?

God shows he exists by voices. "This is my son, in whom I am well pleased." is probably an example of what you mean. Well, that's in the Bible, not someone actually talking out loud. I've never actually heard a disembodied voice before (outside of someone hiding behind something, or over an intercom, etc), so I'm not sure what you mean. Or, suppose there was such a voice. What properties would it have? It'd just be a voice. Why would you differentiate one voice as the "voice of god" and another as not? Perhaps you've defined disembodied voices as god-voices. Ok; but if you do that then remember that all you've done is decide to call this voice god, not that you know anything about it other than you can't find its source. I don't know if you want to do that, but if you decide you do, then just remember that's all you're doing.

God talks to us via Holy books: This seems quite similar to a disembodied voice. Someone wrote these books, didn't they? Of course. The Bible is said to have been written by the hands of some anonymous faithful in the years after Jesus died. Fine, but then you say that God inspired their writing. Ok; do you mean that in the sense that any idea inspires what people write? Or perhaps in the sense that they were possessed by God and forced to write it? But I wonder where you get that idea. In any case, is there a distinguishing characteristic that would differentiate God's influence from whatever someone wanted to write in the first place? If there is no such characteristic, then why do you talk as if there is? If you're just deciding to call books with this type of content (or even 'this set of specific books') "the work of God", then I have no objection - as long as you remember what you've done here.

Talking to god: It is not talking in the ordinary sense, that's clear. I've prayed for quite some time myself but there was no talking involved (save perhaps a few times on my end). "Jill talked to John." - no, not that way. You can say a prayer, which is usually called talking to God, but that's simply an equivalence. "Talking to god" = "praying." And praying is something people do, it's I agree. Some people say they pray to the devil as well; imagine that. But what are people saying when they say they talked to god?

"I talked to God" - GW, trying to reassure Americans that he was on the right course
"I talked to God" - someone trying to make a difficult decision
"I talked to God" - someone who's gotten into trouble and doesn't know what to do
"I prayed for a curse on him." - well. :p
etc.

But if these people mean anything beyond how those sentences are used, they must explain that meaning, as per the first post.

Hence, that why we can conclude God think, God is real, and that God is living, and that God is a person.See the second part of #1 (http://lucasforums.com/showpost.php?p=2416116&postcount=1) for discussion about what god cannot be, the last part of #4 (http://lucasforums.com/showpost.php?p=2416222&postcount=4)for talk about the nature of persons, this thread (http://lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=183736) for the nature of reality (and what it can't be), the first part of this post (http://lucasforums.com/showpost.php?p=2416692&postcount=34) about what thought is. God living? But we said he doesn't have a corporeal presence. Living is rather hard to do without a body, believe it or not (at least insofar as I know what living is).

And that's where the problem lie. It's not as if we are philosophers who postulate the existence of an Intelligent Designer and is now trying to figure out how to create a SETI program that allows us to talk to this Intelligent Designer. God is supposed to have went down and told us right then and there that he exist and he's wanting to see us beg.If that's true then it should be easy to differentiate God from something else. Whatever came down (from where? a mountain?) and told "us" they were god is god. If that's not what is meant, then please explain what is meant.




I am beginning to think that believing in a religion is something like this:

A set of alternate ways of saying objective things in conjunction with a different way of living (ritual prayer, etc). "I wish you well" = "God be with you." A person who believes might also be tempted to say something without meaning, but I don't think they usually try to do that if they're not being questioned on the subject. In this way religion is essentially self-referential, in that if you say something in the normal way it breaks the religion-game. My statements above about holy books, god talking, the soul and judgment "break" the religion-game like that.




I think it'd be tempting to say that I have defined God into nonexistence. However, that would be wrong... The basis of this entire discussion was the idea that meaning is given to words through their use. This is very supportable and very easy to see when you watch someone learning a new language. Take, for example, a child that, curious, approaches something hot. You'd say, "Hot!" and jerk them back from it. After doing this a few times they'd start to catch on, so that you'd only have to say, "Hot!" and they'd get the idea. A more detailed explanation of this system is given here (http://www.voidspace.org.uk/psychology/wittgenstein/one.shtml), in the beginning of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations.

Essentially, it is the idea that the meaning of words is not some sort of mysterious voodoo magic that goes on inside the head (somehow relating the objective to the subjective in the process! :p), but a simple consequence of how people act.

Somehow, I'm pretty worried your argument about "who God is" could easily be twisted to "who man is"...how do you know if your fellow Man is really thinking or if he is just a robot who is merely pretending to think and that you are the only man who got Free Will? This argument could somehow play into the hands of skeptics, if used correctly.If there were a constructed being that was exactly the same as a normal human (within the normal range of variation), then I would not object to calling him human. No difference, no reason for a new name. "Pretending to think"? How is that possible? Either you think or you don't; I see no reason why this man would be any different. This is not to say I would not recognize his creation was different than ours, but rather that the method of his creation is irrelevant to whether he is a man or not. A test-tube baby is still a person.

Free will? Look at the ways we use "free will" and the contexts of those ways.

SilentScope001
02-03-2008, 03:15 PM
Well, perhaps you have not thought much about the original post. "God talks to us." What does God mean here? A person, it looks like; but that is abjectly denied. Notice that even saying god is an "it" means that god is somehow distinguishable from other things; in what way is it distinguishable? Not by being physical.

Er.

Again, I may be a hertic, but God IS a person. He may not be physical, but he is real, and he has his own agenda. He is an indivudal, with his own ideas and his own thoughts.

Many people deny God is a human being who looks like us, because that is true. God isn't supposed to look like us. But God is a person.

Perhaps you know what god is by the content of dreams. But dreams are not reality, by definition. Why should you treat a god-dream differently than all the all the rest that are dismissed as interesting but ultimately irrelevant things to say after waking up?

Because in said dream, you REALLY DO KNOW God is talking. I haven't had any of these god-dreams, nor do I think they exist. But I do think many people had those god-dreams, and knows what a God-dream is when they see one.

God shows he exists by voices. "This is my son, in whom I am well pleased." is probably an example of what you mean. Well, that's in the Bible, not someone actually talking out loud. I've never actually heard a disembodied voice before (outside of someone hiding behind something, or over an intercom, etc), so I'm not sure what you mean. Or, suppose there was such a voice. What properties would it have? It'd just be a voice. Why would you differentiate one voice as the "voice of god" and another as not? Perhaps you've defined disembodied voices as god-voices. Ok; but if you do that then remember that all you've done is decide to call this voice god, not that you know anything about it other than you can't find its source. I don't know if you want to do that, but if you decide you do, then just remember that's all you're doing.

Listen. I never actually heard any God-Voice either. The difference is, once you hear a God-Voice, you know it's a God Voice.

Again, um, I know nothing of the Chrisitan religion, so instead, I'm going to start describing religious traditions of Islam.

Anyway, according to my Judeo-Chrisistan religion, Islam, in some Haditahs, my prophet, Mohammed, actually heard of the God-Voice when he got the first revelation. Later on, those same Haditahs stated that Mohammed actually saw the "Face of God" himself, during the Miraj (travel). Those same Haditahs goes on to say that those who are considered the 'best believers' will see the "Face of God" himself, but that will be on the Day of Judgement. Seeing the "Face of God" is supposed to be the ultimate reward or some such.

So, if we trust these Haditahs, we can assume God got a voice. And he got a Face. But we don't know what the voice are or what the face actually is, because Mohammed won't tell us (and because God doesn't want us to know unless we really are holy). So I can't describe to you what it is other than feebly telling you "You will know it when you hear it". But you don't need to hear a Voice, nor do you need to see a Face, nor do you need a God-Dream. You got the Holy Books and the word of the Prophet.

If you don't trust them, it's rather unlikely you're going to trust the Voice, the God-Dream, or the Face of God when you see them. So, it's all based on trust. But we know about God.

God talks to us via Holy books: This seems quite similar to a disembodied voice. Someone wrote these books, didn't they? Of course. The Bible is said to have been written by the hands of some anonymous faithful in the years after Jesus died. Fine, but then you say that God inspired their writing. Ok; do you mean that in the sense that any idea inspires what people write? Or perhaps in the sense that they were possessed by God and forced to write it? But I wonder where you get that idea. In any case, is there a distinguishing characteristic that would differentiate God's influence from whatever someone wanted to write in the first place? If there is no such characteristic, then why do you talk as if there is? If you're just deciding to call books with this type of content (or even 'this set of specific books') "the work of God", then I have no objection - as long as you remember what you've done here.

While that line of attack may be good against Chrisitans, it isn't that effective against Islam.

Mohammed wrote the Quran due to one source, an angel, named Gabierl, who acts as the intermedratie of God. Mohammed also heard from the Voice of God and saw God's Face (which allowed God to verify that Gabieral, is in fact, the intermedirate of God), but the actual Quranic verses were handed down from Gabierl to Mohammed. And again, nobody other than Mohammed knows about these stuff. And Mohammed's dead. (Mohammed has written the entire Quran, after 20 years, and after his death, nothing was to be added to it)

Nor do I truly feel comfortable about talking about God's features. The fear is, by trying to assign variables to what God is, you are turning God into some sort of idol, where you project your own wants, desires, and needs, and then just go and worship said idol, rather than what God really is. I know little about God's nature, but I do note from really intelligent people about some aspects of God. Only now do I have to start explaining everything about God, that most people already assume, in order to counter your words (mostly because I fear that same argument is going to one day be reintroduced, so better to counter it now).

But, uh, yes. Back to that. Every little word in the Quran is supposed to be what God says. So, um, think of it this way: Mohammed is the ghostwriter. God says what he wants to Mohammed. Mohammed then writes every little sentence of what God said, without any change. Mohammed then spreads that book around. So, you could say: "This is the work of Mohammed", but I disagree, it's the "work of Mohammed writing down every sentence of God" meaning it is, in all practical purposese "a work of God".

Talking to god: It is not talking in the ordinary sense, that's clear. I've prayed for quite some time myself but there was no talking involved (save perhaps a few times on my end). "Jill talked to John." - no, not that way. You can say a prayer, which is usually called talking to God, but that's simply an equivalence. "Talking to god" = "praying." And praying is something people do, it's I agree. Some people say they pray to the devil as well; imagine that. But what are people saying when they say they talked to god?

They are sending an message to God, and hope God reply. Um, eventually.

See the second part of #1 for discussion about what god cannot be, the last part of #4 for talk about the nature of persons, this thread for the nature of reality (and what it can't be), the first part of this post about what thought is. God living? But we said he doesn't have a corporeal presence. Living is rather hard to do without a body, believe it or not (at least insofar as I know what living is).

Now, we got ourselves a problem.

Anyway, some Chrisitan sects are believing that Jesus has a corporeal presence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_Presence), in the form of wine and bread. Don't ask.

And, um, my interpretions above sort of implies that God does have a Body. Which I am reflexictvely quick to deny. But you know what? My reflexivle denials mean nothing. God may have a Body. We just don't see it. Just like I don't see your Body, Samuel Dravis, but just because I never seen your Body does not mean that your Body does not exist. So, God does have a Body. What is this Body? I don't know what he looks like (nor do I care, per se). All I know is that he got a 'Face' (whatever it is), and a 'Voice'. So, if we assert that God GOT a corporeal body, just that God does not wish to show us it, how does that change your argument?

(This Body, however, presuming it exist, is not in 'this world', but rather in the 'Hereafter', in Heaven.)

Take, for example, some strange Sci-Fi video game where you get to play as an alien race known as "Gas". Now, "Gas" is a race that does not have a Body. It is intelligent however (more intelligent than your average oxygen tank), it is powerful, it can control ships, it can colonize planets, it can destory other intelligent races. "Gas" is the greatest threat known to mankind. And "Gas" is real. But the problem is, "Gas" can't really talk to anyone else. It is "Gas" after all. It just stays there, waiting for the right moment to strike.

Prehaps an example of a 'body' that God may have is that "Gas". That "Gas" represent something physical, but it is not like a human body. It's 'alien', but it is real. But, talking about God's body may be heretical, and besides, we know nothing about God's body other than what God tells us. We shouldn't worry about what God looks like, instead, we should worry about following God's dictates.

If that's true then it should be easy to differentiate God from something else. Whatever came down (from where? a mountain?) and told "us" they were god is god. If that's not what is meant, then please explain what is meant.

It is easy to differenate. But, Mohammed and the other Prophets are known to have seen God. And they will not tell us what God looks like.

God has not revealed himself to others, however, to test to see if we really would worship him if not given the evidence he exist. I do. But, uh, other people, er, don't...

I am beginning to think that believing in a religion is something like this:

A set of alternate ways of saying objective things in conjunction with a different way of living (ritual prayer, etc). "I wish you well" = "God be with you." A person who believes might also be tempted to say something without meaning, but I don't think they usually try to do that if they're not being questioned on the subject. In this way religion is essentially self-referential, in that if you say something in the normal way it breaks the religion-game. My statements above about holy books, god talking, the soul and judgment "break" the religion-game like that.

The problem is, in this case, you still make the assumption about Chrisitanity. I think the born-agains are just rolling their eyes. But, if a person assumes God has a body, but a Body existing in another dimension, could it change your views? Likely not...but still.

We haven't explained what God is, because we usually already have a pre-ordinated view. You're just forcing us to explain it.

I think it'd be tempting to say that I have defined God into nonexistence. However, that would be wrong... The basis of this entire discussion was the idea that meaning is given to words through their use. This is very supportable and very easy to see when you watch someone learning a new language. Take, for example, a child that, curious, approaches something hot. You'd say, "Hot!" and jerk them back from it. After doing this a few times they'd start to catch on, so that you'd only have to say, "Hot!" and they'd get the idea. A more detailed explanation of this system is given here, in the beginning of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations.

Essentially, it is the idea that the meaning of words is not some sort of mysterious voodoo magic that goes on inside the head (somehow relating the objective to the subjective in the process! ), but a simple consequence of how people act.

...Uh.

I don't know how that is related to the discussion about wheter God has a body, wheter he has a corperal presence, and how he is real.

Anyway, I do think I might be able to sustain some sort of defense by stating God has a body.

Since you said in the first post that Zeus is exempt becuase he has a body, if God has a body, he is also exempt. Of course, we don't know what the body is. But he has one. If you got some New Age cultist screaming about "Nature" as a God, I could state that the body of "Nature" is in fact the entire planet of Earth itself, as that is its coperal presence. In fact, if I really want a loophole, I could define the entire universe as the body of God, and be rather happy.

But I don't know how effective that loophole is.